Monday 29 April 2019

Yes, that’s next Monday. 

That’s four days away.

It’s the day that the trial starts in the UK… I’m talking about the High Court action against GlaxoSmithKline that is being taken by a group of UK patients who are determined to finally have their day in court confronting GlaxoSmithKline.

It has been a long slog with many false starts but we have finally, finally made it. 

Over the years there were times I really did think that we would never get to court. But we have and I for one am ready.

And this time GSK, it’s personal.

Let’s shine a light under this particular stone and let the press and public see what GSK has been trying to keep hidden for all too long.

Throughout the many years the group has been pursuing its case, it has been unedifying to watch GSK and their lawyers squirm and obfuscate as they tried to avoid this trial. But that’s only part of it – along with GSK’s refusal to ever admit Seroxat could be a dangerous drug for many people to take; along with their illegal drug marketing activities; along with their hidden trial results, there’s one thing I never quite understood.

Why, oh why, did GSK never produce Seroxat tablets in small doses – say 0.5mg and 1mg? 

This simple step would have helped many hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide to more safely wean themselves off the drug. Instead we had to use liquid Seroxat in order to slowly reduce doses by tiny amounts. 

Of course the liquid version was more expensive and so more difficult to get doctors to prescribe.

Anyway back to Monday… this from Fortitude Law who are representing the claimants in the Group:

Following the halt of the Seroxat Group Action in 2010 when public funding was withdrawn, Claimants determined to continue with their claims for compensation have turned to Fortitude Law. We are now set to return to Court and confront GlaxoSmithKline (UK) Ltd. with evidence of the harm they suffered as a consequence of having become dependent upon the antidepressant, Seroxat. Fortitude Law is working with Counsel Jacqueline Perry QC and Niazi Fetto, 2 Temple Garden Chambers, London to represent 105 Claimants in their High Court claims.

Patients were reassured by their GPs that unlike other antidepressants, they would be able to stop taking Seroxat whenever they wanted. Instead, over 6,000 individuals advised their GPs that each time they reduced their dose they suffered bizarre and debilitating symptoms not previously experienced. These symptoms often included impulsive suicidal thoughts, thoughts of self harm and uncharacteristic aggressive behaviour. Their withdrawal symptoms were so severe that the only way they could be avoided was to return to their previous daily dose. Several of the current Claimants were minors at the time they were prescribed Seroxat for transient mental healthcare problems.

Moreover, women who became dependent upon Seroxat delayed or decided not to start their families upon learning that Seroxat had the potential to harm their unborn infant ‘in utero’.

Several Group Actions have been settled in the US following Court proceedings related to harm caused to individuals who had become dependent upon Paxil (Seroxat in the UK) – an FDA approved and prescribed antidepressant.

“It is ironic” says Claimant Bob Fiddaman “this British company has compensated Americans for the harm caused to adults and children who became dependent upon its antidepressant Paxil (Seroxat) yet UK citizens have had to fight for years to have their case heard. We may now only be a group of 105 Claimants but we are determined to gain compensation for the harm caused to us.”

To see the genesis of this litigation, which first commenced with the BBC’s Panorama Programme ‘Secrets of Seroxat’ first shown in 2002, visit news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/panorama/2310197.stm

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